It’s finally June! A month full of warm weather, campfires, cookouts – the start of Pride Month and its many festivities.
Pride Month has been important to me since coming out at the age of 14. I grew up in the relatively small town of Auburn, Maine. Pride celebrations, parties, and parades were where I was able to find myself and feel comfortable for the first time. It formed a huge influence on my career, as well. The excitement of Pride stirred a personal passion for putting on events and music performances. I eventually found my place here at Baxter Brewing, working on experiential beer events, as well as working with people hosting their own private events at our restaurant, The Pub.
For me, this year’s Pride Month is bittersweet. My passion revolves around curating events and bringing people together. I also take tremendous joy myself in celebrating and attending Pride each June. While I live every day with pride and comfort in my sexuality – and am fortunate to have a supportive family and workplace – this year remains challenging. Pride has always been such an important outlet for self-expression. I am hugely thankful for the folks that are working tirelessly to put on virtual Pride events, and yet want so much to see the parade come down Congress Street in Portland. I want to listen to the performances at Boston’s City Plaza. I long for and will greatly miss the sense of community, and the feeling of being packed into bars with hundreds of rainbow-adorned revelers.
At the same time, heading into Pride Month has me feeling so thankful, excited, and proud. My better-half of seven years and I have been planning our wedding for September. The current situation means we are getting more creative to adhere to state regulations and guidelines – we are well into the planning process with now less than four months out from the wedding. Many people have been asking us how we’re doing. They understand wedding planning can be stressful on its own; we have the added stress of navigating a situation where most places have been closed, and may remain so indefinitely.
Outside of the brief moments where we questioned whether we could even have a wedding, we’ve been excited and welcome the challenges of planning one in 2020. Important to both my partner and I is a wedding that celebrates our relationship while making every effort we can to support queer and women-owned businesses. Steel House Oven from Pittston will be providing catering. Music will be provided by Emily-T, and we’ve hired Kerry Constantine do be our photgrapher. With so many people forced to cancel their events, we’ve been grateful to carry on and support such important people and businesses at the same time.
Going forward into Pride Month, we are motivated to find creative ways to go dress and suit shopping after initial appointments had to be delayed. We have looked for décor online, grown our own wedding flowers, and Kelsey (my spouse-to-be) is creating our own wedding cake. All of this wedding planning has been a perfect reminder that even though I can’t be pulling rainbow confetti out of my hair, or share a beer with friends and strangers as we celebrate our community this month– there’s still a lot of Pride out there this June.
– Caitlyn Paige, Events Manager at Baxter Brewing